Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Talib Activated

Tuesday Notes: CB Aqib Talib returned to the active roster on Tuesday and will resume practicing with the team on Wednesday


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have activated Aqib Talib from the Exempt/Commissioner Permission list, which means the rising star cornerback will make his 2010 regular-season debut on Sunday against the Carolina Panthers.

To make room for Talib on the 53-man roster, the Buccaneers released rookie defensive end Erik Lorig.  The third of three players drafted by Tampa Bay in the seventh round in April, Lorig made the active roster to begin the season but was one of eight game-day inactives on Sunday when the Bucs opened their season against the Cleveland Browns.

Talib will add to a Buccaneers pass defense that gave up 236 yards of passing but was extremely stout in the second half of the team's 17-14 win over the Browns.  Tampa Bay's first-round draft pick in 2008, Talib tallied nine interceptions over his first two seasons, the most by any Buccaneer player over that span.  He also has 96 tackles and 27 passes defensed during those two seasons.

Second-year cornerback E.J. Biggers started in Talib's place at left cornerback in the opener, appearing in his first regular-season NFL game after spending his rookie campaign on injured reserve.  Though Biggers struggled at times in the first half he was a force after the break, notching his first career interception and batting away two passes while helping the Bucs' defense shut out the Browns.

Even with Talib's return, Biggers will still be heavily involved in the Bucs' pass defense, as he won the team's nickel back job with a strong training camp and preseason.  When Tampa Bay employs a nickel package it generally moves Pro Bowl cornerback Ronde Barber into the slot and puts the third defensive back – in this case Biggers – on the outside at right cornerback.

Lorig played in all four preseason games and contributed four tackles and three quarterback pressures.  At Stanford he started 25 of 29 games over his final three seasons after converting from tight end to defensive end in 2007.  A team captain as a senior in 2009, Lorig racked up 95 tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks.

Talib will return to the practice field on Wednesday when the Buccaneers begin preparing for next Sunday's game in Charlotte.  During his week on the reserve list, Talib was not permitted to be at the team's facility or join in any of the practices or meetings.


Vote for Mike!

It doesn't take long for Mike Williams to make an impression.

Tampa Bay's fourth-round pick in the 2010 draft, the former Syracuse receiver was a standout in the very first practice of the team's rookie mini-camp the following weekend.  He was a starter on the opening day of training camp.  He caught a 30-yard pass just 10 minutes into his first NFL preseason game to set up a touchdown against Miami.  He gained 53 yards on the Bucs' very first play from scrimmage two weeks later against Jacksonville.

And now, just one game into his first NFL regular season, Williams is already in the running for the NFL's Rookie of the Week award.

After a weekend in which a large number of NFL newcomers made strong first impressions, Williams is one of five players in the running for the weekly award.  The winner will be determined by fan ballot at NFL.com, where voters can choose from the Bucs receiver, Philadelphia safety Nate Allen, Jacksonville defensive tackle Tyson Alualu, Detroit running back Jahvid Best and Kansas City running back Dexter McCluster.

Click here to go to NFL.com and cast your vote.

Williams started at receiver in his first NFL game and led the team with five receptions for 30 yards in the Bucs' comeback win over the Browns.  Williams ignited the comeback with a stunningly acrobatic touchdown catch following Barber's 64-yard interception return to the Cleveland three.

On the play, quarterback Josh Freeman threw a hard pass to Williams as he cut across the end zone from right to left.  A Cleveland defender got his hand on the pass, deflecting it into the air and towards the back line of the end zone.  Williams spun 270 degrees, located the ball and hauled it in, then tapped both toes inbounds as he fell backward over the line.

Voting began for the first Rookie of the Week of 2010 on Tuesday morning and will continue until noon on Friday.  The winner will be announced on Friday evening.  AT the end of the season, five players will be nominated for NFL Rookie of the Year honors, an award last won by the Buccaneers in 2005, when running back Cadillac Williams took it home.


Comeback Kids

Williams' spinning touchdown cut Cleveland's lead to 14-10 at halftime and the Bucs scored the only points of the second half to take home a three-point victory.  The stirring comeback was the sort that had until recently eluded the Buccaneers for years, even during the best of times.

On December 12, 1999, the Buccaneers fell behind the Detroit Lions, 0-10, at Raymond James Stadium.  They then rallied for a 23-16 victory.  Tampa Bay would advance on to the NFC Championship Game that season and by 2002 would be victors in the Super Bowl.  But even as the Bucs won enough games to make the playoffs six times from 1999-2007, they never recaptured that comeback magic needed against the Lions.

In fact, the Buccaneers went almost a decade, until September 21, 2008, before they would once again win a game in which they at one point trailed by 10 or more points.  The drought ended in Chicago, where Tampa Bay rallied from a 24-14 deficit to win in overtime, 27-24.

Stunningly, that sort of rally has now become almost commonplace for Tampa Bay, even as the team's roster has become steadily younger.  Apparently, the Bucs' newcomers are comeback kids, because there have been no fewer than six games in less than two full seasons in which the Buccaneers rallied from a double-digit deficit to get the win.

The last of those was just last weekend, when the Bucs erased that 11-point Cleveland lead to win by three.  Here's the full list of double-digit comeback wins by the Buccaneers since the start of the 2008 season.



Largest Deficit

Final Score




27-24 (OT)


Kansas City


30-27 (OT)






Green Bay




New Orleans


20-17 (OT)





According to running back Cadillac Williams, who led all players with 75 rushing yards on 22 carries, the victory was possible because the Buccaneers didn't quit or lose focus after digging an early hole.

"We got down early," said Williams.  "It was not looking too good – we were down 14-3.  Nobody panicked, though, everybody stayed calm.  Early on, they were throwing little things just to get us out of rhythm, but we have total confidence in these coaches.  We have worked hard all offseason.  We heard all the negative talk about how we are not going to be a good team, about how we are too young.  But we are tight-knit group.  We've got a chance to be special."


Guard Added to Practice Squad

The ever-fluid eight-man practice squad changed shape again on Tuesday when the Buccaneers signed rookie guard Brandon Carter and released rookie punter Brent Bowden.

Carter spent the preseason with the New Orleans Saints after signing as an undrafted free agent in May.  At Texas Tech, the 6-6, 319-pound lineman started 40 of the 49 games in which he played, earning first-team All-Big 12 honors as a senior in 2009.

Bowden was the Buccaneers' sixth-round draft pick in April.  He handled all of the team's punting duties during the 2010 preseason but was released on September 5 when the Bucs signed former Green Bay punter Chris Bryan.  Bowden was subsequently signed to Tampa Bay's practice squad last Monday.

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